tv Piers Morgan Tonight CNN December 7, 2012 12:00am-1:00am PST
you never know what quite to expect from my first quest famous for outbursts and acting. now the smart alec that once asked me this. >> i must ask you, piers, have you ever been properly in love? i was instructed by your staff to pose this very question to you. >> alec baldwin, talking about everything from politics -- >> we can probably solve this in about a week.
it's not that tough. >> to bob costas and gun control. the fate of a thinking man's ceo, "30 rock's" and alec baldwin live and unfiltered. a heart breaking story of hope after tragedy. a mother lost three young daughters and parents in a christmas day fire last year. she's finding the strength to rebuild her life. >> for me, finding out the truth of what happened is very important. it is the way that i want to really honor and respect my parents and my children. >> this is "piers morgan tonight." good evening. with everything going on in washington these days there's not many laughs in politics unless you have a guest like alex baldwin. you would call him the poster boy for liberals but plays a hard core republican and for laughs. listen to this exchange of nbc's "30 rock."
>> this is why 50.1% of americans hate republicans. you are cynical and sneaky. >> i'm doing everything i can for the beliefs and i believe one rich person can make a difference and a roomful of rich people can change the wrmd. >> joining me now, the always outspoken and entertaining, liberal and republican alec baldwin. we have never met in the same studio for an interview. welcome oi i'm going to miss that show and character. >> will happen to my life without jack? >> your life? >> he must continue. never mind yours. he is the epitome of great comedy. >> even to the wire as we get down to where next week sometime thereabouts we finish the show and every minute that goes by, i say i never say this line again and stand in this spot again. it's huge. >> can't you create a spainoff around jack? you signed a new deal with nbc. >> i think that would necessarily involve tina and the people that birthed this show. it's their project. i don't think they see
themselves -- i mean, tina has so many options in her future. i don't think they see the show where i teem star and they're not involved. >> it would be good. >> possibly. >> let's talk serious politics. massive day. washington state and smoking pot legally. for a good liberal boy like you, must be a happy day, alec. >> i don't know how i feel about legalized pot smoking because the difference is that alcohol is something that's consumed as a part of cuisine, wine in particular. and you can drink alcohol and say, well, i have had enough and i don't want to drink anymore. drugs are consumed for the purpose of being mind altering substances so i think to legalize them is -- i'm not quite sure how i stand on that. however, the medicinal marijuana
thing i'm in support of. >> it's been a fascinating year politically because people assumed it's a close race. the gop going through collective internal meltdown to work out the new identity would be and won't be shedding tears for that but what did you make of the election battle? pretty bruising and nasty. they don't seem to have learned very much on either side of how to get things down for the benefit of america. >> i mean, i'm not the first person. there are countless people who have said that the gop's casting department has to be fired. and restaffed. because this was a race that was theirs for the taking. i mean, obama was ripe for the taking. i don't know if i agree that that was deservedly so but they really, really could have brought him down and the vice presidential choice was critical. if you had romney who was plenty conservative for most people i know maybe not red states, christian conservatives, he needed a woman on the ticket. >> i was amazed he didn't go for another demographic. if he got marco rubio or rice assuming they would do it but --
>> if he went for meg whitman of california running for the senate and the chair -- the ceo of hewlett-packard. a serious woman as opposed to palin and the race in 2008. if he took a serious woman, he might have hosted a chance, i think. >> on obama, i mean, he ended up fighting a campaign that was pretty skillful on the ground where it mattered in the swing states. probably why he won. but you would say he didn't live up to the prams that he gave us four years ago. what does he have to do now? he can't face another election. what do you want him to do to show fulfillment of that promise? >> i think what i want him to do and what i think needs to be done are to some degree separate things but i do know that we have had a lot of programs, government-funded program that is represent both sides of the aisle. both sides want everything they want and found a way with this
congress over the last several years to get much of what they want and we bought it on credit. and the time has come, because we have enormous debt and raise taxes and pay the bill. >> my gut feeling is, i think the argument of the moment, see the republicans pushed in to this impossible situation for them to win where two thirds of americans in the polls are quite happy for the rich 2% to be taxed more and the republicans boxed themselves in to a position come january 1st they might be allowing all the middle class taxable to try to save the skins of americans. that won't wash with the public, is it? >> i don't think it's washing with the public. i think we need a more realistic definition of what wealth is. there are people who have jobs, both parents are working, they're putting the kids through schools, they don't have faith in the public schools in the community they're in and they have the option to go to private school.
their nut is a bit higher but nonetheless i think that probably right around a million dollars is a serious breaking point for me. meanings, you have a certain tax base and there's a definition of wealth. $250,000 in the household, $500,000, crossing a million dollars you can have the highest tax rate, i believe. i don't believe you're taxing people at the highest rate of $250,000 a year in the modern yore. >> let's talk briefly about guns. bob costas got in hot water for halftime in a football match and talking about gun control. i've had debates of this on my show. i come from a country where we
have strict gun control. very few gun murders and not a constitution that many believe entitles them to bear arms, in other words, to have a firearm. what is your view and should politicians led by the president be doing more to try to at least limit some form of weapon? >> well, i'm in favor of people owning guns but i'm in favor of there being the most arduous process to qualify. we license many things in our society. you can't walk in to a store to get all the drugs you need. you could be in agonizing pain and you still have to go to a hospital and stand in line and get a prescription of a pharmacist. we license cars. we license a lot of things and i think we need to license guns beyond the way you do now. it might take a couple of weeks to do a proper background check.
>> it is a kind of -- it's an inbred thing to an american, this right to bear arms. >> to some americans, to some americans. >> i would say to the majority. >> i disagree. >> you don't think? >> at best a 50-50 and rural or semirural component and people in a city that's a b-sized city and out west where they have access to rural countrysides and shooting and guns and hunting and that kind of thing is part of the culture but look at a map of the united states and look at the density of the united states. most of it's still on the east coast and a lot of people i know on the east coast, cities, don't want to own guns but people should be able to own them. we should not infringe on that bloomberg's hand picked successor. i resent that to some degree and that he needs to control the
city hall and gracie mansion and overturned a voter-approved referendum with term limits for two terms. quinn killed the voter referendum at bloomberg's behest and gave him a third term. and i was very, very upset about that. and i just don't think that quinn is trustworthy. i think she's a very, very -- she's a nice person. i met her. but in terms of political aspirations, she is a very untrustworthy person and self serving. >> your grazed knuckle. i want to take a short break and leave the viewers on the cliff hanger, how did he get that mark on the knuckle? did he punch another photographer? is there something darker? we'll find out after the break.
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i've been to the dmc. they have signs. can your wife not read? >> i don't think. we're all adults here. >> she's certainly not younger, is she? >> condi, we are not doing this. >> oh, we are doing this. >> i'm sorry that i broke up with you by text. i'm sorry i went drinking with karl rove on valentine's day.
>> "30 rock." i can't bear the thought. it's funny there, alec. she was a comic. i thought comic timing -- >> a great foil, a great comic foil. >> funny pictures for you. end the election stuff with these. mitt romney since the election. and they're all -- >> shopping? >> him add mcdonald's. >> okay. >> you like this here? that's him in the store, the supermarket. cvs. gets some supplies. that's him in the kitchen. that's him gassing up at the station. i mean, kind of -- sad, lonely
figure. >> kicking back. enjoying himself. >> good the see him back in normal life? good for any politician? >> i would imagine that the period, the grieving period and the acceptance period for when it doesn't go your way, especially when there was every inclination it would go his way and remember what a long torturous, tedious primary period. about 175 republican debates before the general election. he was wiped out before the finals. >> what i find disgusting is i like mitt romney. and his wife and kids. they're nice people. and the way they've all been chucked under the bus by the other republicans, one by one, racing to distance themselves, i don't like that. it's just disloyal to me. >> i think that romney was someone who -- i mean, listen. i'm glad the way everything turned out but it wasn't like romney is someone i despised. i didn't think he was the best man for the job but i think that the republican party has a lot of soul searching to do. i don't want to have a -- i don't want to live in a one-party country, either. i would like to have a loyal opposition, as well. but i think what happened for the republicans is something
that they're going to have to do thinking about. it was theirs for the winning. >> let's put the viewers out of the mist. >> i hit a ladder with my hand. on a sound stage, as you well know, especially moving sets and shooting the way we do, you're in pretty constant peril every five minutes of smashing your head on something. you're on a real set tripping on something and i cracked my hand. no, i did not punch as a photographer as you so cleaverly alluded to a moment ago. >> your fascination with the media is good copy for them. and you've sort of played the game and occasionally you blow up and seem almost permanent rage with them. why do you have such conflict with them? >> i don't think i really do have any conflict with them in the sense that that guy you're talking about, that photographer, i mean, i think the most important thing to remember is i did not punch the guy and he was overhead going down the street going through, yeah, there's a good one, oh, i like that one and going through the roll of his film on his
digital camera and then presses charges and the charges dismissed. i don't think i'm somebody who i have the new york city d.a. or police department in the pocket. they didn't believe the guy was struck and dismissed the charges. no case there. but i also think that, you know, we live in a time where -- and you'll appreciate this and i say this all the time. years ago the press operations of major studios before there were television networks they tried to protect movie stars back then from the heada hoppers and lewala parsons and press officers to help them and then one day somebody who worked at a company said why are we wasting our time trying to shield society from the alcoholism, the homosexuality, the extramarital affairs of our stable of stars? let's make money off of these people falling on their sword,
no pun intended, in this behavior. so for this very company, for example, cnn, which is owned by time warner, warner brothers owned tmz. so when you make a film for tmz or when you make a filling warner brothers, a tv show, right down the hallway they're trying to try stab you back in the when your back is turned with what's his name that runned tmz and that crowd. >> oh yeah. >> it's a very, very murky water. you know? >> is the way not to deal with them, alec, i say this with much respect because you get the attention than i would and they're entertaining with the videos. >> you must have a very low threshold for entertainment. >> i find them a necessary part of the business. >> that's a difference of opinion we have. >> i would call them attacks. it's a tax on show business. >> you have a very different opinion than i do. my attitude is the business is better if all of them were gone.
>> really? >> press a button tomorrow and press them down a swirling sewer vortex, i would do it. where's the button? hand it to me now. >> what if they said -- >> somebody on the crew is laughing. >> no more publicity in any newspaper or magazine for anything you do. >> that's not practical. people you will have publicity. listen. i'm not opposed to even though i'm not ecstatic about the entertainment journalism that's out there and cheapens show business and demystifies show business and the once you typically call a gotcha journalism, that's one i think we can all do without. >> mike tyson had a good way of resolving somebody. he said, a photographer at lax. what was the fallout? paparazzi are really good to me. really? let me give them a right hook. let's talk about more cheerful matters. "saturday night live." you've done 16 of these. you're the king of "snl."
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>> well, there's no beating my balls. >> they're made from a secret schweaty family recipe. no one can resist my schweaty balls. >> holiday classic. >> that is a classic. >> holiday classic, piers. >> did you bring any of your -- >> big cosby, dickens. pete schweaty. a big basket now. >> you love "snl," don't you? >> i really do, yeah. >> is it because it's mainly live and dangerous? >> that's the only place to say it. one of the things i have loved about "30 rock" an one of the greatest tributes to the writing is how they do prime time networks that they can only go so blue and so adult. and they've got to walk that broadcast fine line which they do very deftly and they get pretty outrageous but "snl" and it is late-night programming and
go further and things you can't believe you're saying on tv. it is incredible. >> let's talk about your brother steven in the news today for apparently facing jail. what can you say about that? >> i think two things. one is that i don't think he's going to go to jail. i know he's in a negotiated settlement and things online which were, you know, that's what media today does. they try to tilt it the way they need to be to sell hits to their sites. were talking about him arrested and take anna nicole to custody. this was all rearranged with the d.a. for for him to go and make appearance and shake him down and they've got to make him walk that gauntlet because that's the procedure even though steps have been made to begin the process of remediating that money and down payments have been made. but one of the things i find interesting in my lifetime an
i'm sure you will recognize this in yours with people you have known is when you have far less money than you need and you have far more money than you need they're both equal in terms of how easy it is to get in trouble with the tax man. >> that's certainly true. >> only people in the middle of a more realistic framework financially seem to get right. i have so many friends that analyzed the income. they make a lot of money and then assume it carries on for many, many years and spend the money they ordinarily would have to segregate in to a tax account and my brother is no different than millions of other people who have -- >> the best to steven. >> i think the problem today is being cleared up and dragged him through the mud today necessarily. >> the tweets here if you're interested. asking are you going to work with tina again. they're heart broken like me friday this week it's all over next week. >> well, the show airs until the end of january, i believe, and
you know, listen, if something came up that was a good idea, i would love to do that. she's a great writer and she's so unique. there really is no one like tina who's a beautiful, beautiful woman and she's winning and warm and funny on screen and very, very clever and very, very, you know, sharp. but the other thing about it is her future is something that i'm very interested in to see what happens because she does have two kids. whether she wants to get in to the tv series grinding it out i don't know. her options are limitless, limitless. >> let's take another break and intrude in the privacy. let me ask you about your love life. >> am i gay? >> properly been in love. [ nyquil bottle ] you know i relieve coughs, sneezing, fevers... [ tylenol bottle ] me too! and nasal co [ tissue box ] he said nasal congestion. yeah...i heard him. [ female announcer ] tylenol® cold multi-symptom nighttime
a cover story, clearly. >> it was a beard, a heavy beard. >> she's a beautiful woman and more than that she has got you in a spectacular shape. >> well, you know, obviously, i feel funny saying this because a lot of people would say this about their wives but i'm very lucky. my wife is really -- she's the most special person. she is such a wonderful opportunity for me as a person to grow. she's helped me so much and not just in terms of this physical health thing and the nutrition. number one thing i dwaif up was sugar. i was always a pretty fit and relatively lean and healthy person and then about eight or nine years ago i went off the deep end and got more and more swollen and my god, what happened? i did exercise and someone explained this to me. i think it's very, very important and not so much about my lack of discipline or my kind
of bad behavior, but that i was sick, that i was prediabetic, it was an illness and therein lied the cure, i gave up eating sugar and i lost 35 years in a year. >> you have naturally romantic man any. >> i think i'm very romantic, yeah. >> i saw the wedding pictures. >> my wife -- >> you just -- >> i can't say enough. i medium very -- i love my wife. i'm in love with my wife, i adore her. i'm lucky and never had this opportunity before because i was a different person and you look at that guy as i'm sure you do in your career and relationships and look at that guy back then and go, oh god, look at him. he was -- he didn't really have all of his ducks in a row. >> you said a well spoken british accent asking how many times have you been properly in love, piers. >> piers. >> the same question now that you have experienced true, true love here and happiness, is this the proper love you were always seeking or have you felt this
before but it doesn't work snout. >> as we get older, we have a more acute appreciation of that. where i was, that's where i wanted to be. i was married to my ex-wife, and daughter's mother and involved with, you know, here and there with a couple different people over the years. and all of those people was where i thought i wanted to be but where i'm at now is the difference is in me. you know, the difference is we're not only in who i'm with but in me, as well rye you a nicer guy to be with? better partner, do you think? >> i think the biggest thing i want to change is just how strisz filled my life is. i try to do a lot. like the job i have on the tv show seems to be a hobby and fitting in the other things i do and the other activities i do which fill another kind of side of my passion and i go home sometimes and think i will go blind i'm so tired. >> what's been the greatest
moment of your life? putting aside women and children, when's been the moment if i could relive it for you, you'd go for? >> i would say it's probably a tie between my daughter being born. that was a really, really great experience. at that point, i got married in 1993. i was 35. my daughter was born in '95. and i was 37. and at that point, i began to mull over -- my ex-wife was older than me and i mulled over the possibility i wasn't going
it's almost impossible to imagine what madonna badger has been through. in a year after the tragedy, she's learning how to get on with her life and she joins me now. i don't know where to start with you, madonna. i can't imagine anything worse in the world than what you've been through. how do you even begin to cope? >> you know, in the beginning you don't cope. and my life was basically shattered. and i went to three different mental institutions and they
didn't know what to do with me. you know? i wasn't schizophrenic. i wasn't mentally ill. i was just sick with grief and sadness. and finally, i called my friend and asked her to come and get me from the third one in tennessee. and she did. kate and i went to college together. and i lived in her daughter's bedroom for four months and i went to this amazing place called the psychiatric research institute and it's part of university of arkansas little rock. the director there was the first person that described to me what was going on with me physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically in a way that i could somewhat understand at the time. >> is time as people say so often in these situations any kind of healer? >> i think the only reason why time is a healer is because, you know, my whole life or not my whole life but what felt like my whole life up to this point is about my girls and my children. and so the time part is i think
the idea that -- of learning how to live without them. and so it doesn't really get better. you just sort of learn new tools along the way. >> something that really touched everybody, because it was christmas. your three beautiful girls. your whole life. your parents. everything gone. literally in ashes. the day before, how was your life? how would you describe life before this happened to you? >> my life was fantastic. and it was beyond my wildest dreams. and we had the most amazing night together. my mother made wonderful apple pies and homemade bread. and brought them to my house. and we, you know, had a lovely christmas eve dinner and gracie went around and decorated the table and sarah and lily, you know, did wonderful dances. and it was amazing.
and my life felt -- i have never felt so good in my life than really the past few months up until, you know, christmas morning. >> when you realized what was happening, there must be -- i'll put my cards on the table here. my grandmother watched her mother die in a house fire and saw it happen. >> okay. >> i have a tiny bit of perspective on this for the horror of what that must be like. when you're beginning to realize you can't get your girls or your parents out of this inferno, what was going through your mind? >> i mean, it's so horrific and so awful and that, you know, before this happened to me i never would have imagined that there's anything to stop me from going into a burning building to save my children. and yet, i couldn't get in. and i had climbed up to the
third floor scaffolding and i had raised the window and the black smoke on the third floor was so intense and so filled with burning embers and i would hold my breath and try to go in and hold my breath and try to go in and i was screaming and screaming and then finally i saw the fire trucks coming and so i came down and then i started to -- i tried to open a window with my foot and, you know, at this point, my neighbor has just come out of his house. the firemen are there and i don't know -- i'm so lost at that moment. i was so lost and then i have done a lot of work, the same sort of work that they do with war veterans with posttraumatic stress syndrome at pri because, you know, up until maybe two months ago i couldn't have even told you that story. >> part of you just wish you died, too? >> oh, god, yes. yes. i prayed for that.
and i screamed at god, you know, forever. why didn't i die, too? you know? yeah. that was -- i really wanted to die, too. >> do you blame anybody? >> no. i don't. >> i mean, do you even really know exactly what happened? >> no. that's why i don't blame anyone. >> the house was demolished without your knowledge or permissi permission. it was just razed to the ground. there's never been any conclusive investigation that's really told you probably what you most want to know what happened. >> yes, yes. no. there's not been. any conclusive anything. and, you know, for me, finding out the truth of what happened is very important. it is the way that i want to really honor and respect my parents and my children. and more importantly, this
point, is that i don't want this to ever happen to anyone else. you know? i don't want anyone else to ever wake up on christmas morning choking in their own bed and not being able to save their children and have, you know, the people, the city come in and tear my house down and haul it away and not save one piece of physical evidence. not save a smoke detector. you know? why -- >> why did they do this? do you know? do you have a satisfactory answer? >> no. i have no answer, no. >> extraordinary. >> it's awful. it's awful. and it's -- and the fact that they could come in and make that sort of a decision without doing a proper investigation, i mean, my father was the director of safety and security for brown foreman over 20 years. >> he was an in store santa claus, wasn't me? >> yes. in his retirement. in his retirement. >> he was very keen on safety and that. you were very aware. >> yes, yes.
as a kid growing up, i mean, his nickname is safety man. my dad was in my house with my all the time. and my mom was, too. and, you know, this idea that my house was somehow, you know, halfway built or any of those kinds of things, it is just absurd. it is absurd. and so, the person that came up with the ashes story was me. you know? i was bereaved that when i went to bed and saw the box next to the mud room, or i'm sorry in the mud room next to the door i thought, oh, i should put that outside. and then i thought, no, it's okay. i vividly remember this. of course i do. and so, i went to bed. when i got up, i came out the front on to the front top of the porch. i looked around. and i saw my parent's bedroom windows and i looked up. there was no flame there. and i looked back and the way
that my house was built i could go all the way around and i saw eight-foot white sparks coming out of the direction of the meter and the sound was -- it was so quiet and all i heard was -- like, you know, in a frankenstein movie when they electrify him and i saw a little bit of flame but not much. and then i ran up the scaffolding and opened the window and that's when the smoke, you know, nearly knocked me down. >> your ex-husband matthew badger said in interviews and he's been very hon nest about -- honest about this, that he was so grief stricken and enraged that one stage he wanted to kill you, kill your boyfriend, do whatever he could to try and, you know, but i know that you now have a pretty good relationship with him, i think. >> yes. >> tell me about that. it's obviously for him as awful as it's been for you. >> oh, yeah. i would imagine if i were in
matthew's shoes i would have had the exact same reaction. i don't at all judge his grief or what he has chosen to say or do or feel. i mean, it's such mind-bending grief, you know. i hope no one judges me. >> you said at the funerals for your girls, you gave a eulogy and put your hand in your heart, you said my girls are in my heart, right here. this is where they live now. is that how you feel now? >> yes. one of the places i had a dream and on my way to arkansas, and in my dream lily came to me. she did it with fingers, and she said, mommy, i'm right there. i'm right there in your heart. don't worry. i love you, mommy. and then, you know, sarah came to me when i was flipping out and said, don't worry, mommy. there's nothing to be afraid of. i had a dream with sarah where
she said just look into my eyes. it's all okay. and then with gracy i see butterflies everywhere, and i know it's grace. you know, they'll be in -- if it's cold or raining, wherever, and so i -- you know, not only do i know they're in my heart, but i know now that their presence is everywhere. when all of those things were happening, i thought, wow, i am delusional. i must be really nuts. this must be what's happening to me. actually, i read a book about a month ago called "proof of heaven" by dr. alexander who was a neurosurgeon who was in a coma and had a near death experience. and during that entire time he was on the wings of a butterfly. he went to heaven on the wings of a butterfly. the messages are love. there's nothing to be afraid of, and you can't do anything wrong.
dreams are more real than this life. that's what dr. alexander said and that's what sarah had told me, you know, in june. i read this book in november. so when that -- when i read that book and i had that realization that this was real, i had what i think the saints call ectasy. that moment of ectasy when you really know god. you really know that it's real. that eternal life is real. i had that feeling. it was amazing. ever since then i've felt so much at peace because i know, i know with every fiber of my being that my girls are okay. >> how will you spend christmas? it will be a year on normally such a happy day, a family day for you. it's going to be excruciating painful day. where will you be? what will you do, you think? >> every day has been awful.
there have been all sorts of -- they talk about when parents lose a child that the first year anniversary of everything is really hard. their birthday. i had two because, you know, sarah and gracy are twins, but mother's day, easter, halloween, thanksgiving. so, yes, you know, this is the day, and i'm certainly nervous about it. because i've had all these other days, i kind of have a little bit of an idea of what to expect. the truth is that the lead-up to the actual day is much harder than the day itself. so especially lily's birthday was the first one that came. i was terrified. i mean, i didn't sleep for days. i was terrified. . i couldn't sleep by myself. it was -- i had to go and stay at kate and justin's house again.
then i woke up on lily's birthday, and the first thought that came to my head was, i love you, lily. happy birthday. i dressed up for her, and i put makeup on for her. i just walked around all day, you know, saying happy birthday and i love you. and so i'm going to spend christmas that way, and i'm going to go to thailand because, you know, i'm not -- santa claus is not really, you know, a happening thing for me right now. there's an orphanage there, and these young girls -- i mean, there are orphanages everywhere, but this one, these young girls are -- have lost their families, and so i'm going to take them suitcases filled with toys that i was able to get out of my garage. so that's what i'm going to do. i'm going to ride on elephants, i hope. >> madonna, it's a
heart-breaking story. i just don't know how you got through this. your courage is inspiring. i think that the way you talk about the girls is extraordinary. i wish i could do something to ease your pain, but i can't. i really appreciate you coming in today. >> thank you for having me. >> i hope christmas isn't too unbearable. you have everybody with you. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. >> and we'll be right back. the , their very first word was... [ to the tune of "lullaby and good night" ] ♪ af-lac ♪ aflac [ male announcer ] find out more at... [ duck ] aflac! [ male announcer ] ...forbusiness.com. [ yawning sound ]